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What do the next 5 years hold for the arts & cultural industries?

Funding for the creative industries is consistently under threat. With cut backs in other vital areas of society (see NHS), and a nationwide housing crisis, it’s understandable that for many the arts are considered to be a ‘luxury item’. However, the arts are a vital part of societal structure. The expression of key creative minds is what, amongst other things, defines an era and a generation. Art is a necessary platform for questioning, and bringing about change through experimentation.

Regardless of the outcome of the recent general election, the question of where we go now is and was always looming. Now is the perfect time to question: what will the arts and cultural industries look like in the next five years? When faced with potential adversity, out come the individuals and organisations that will strive for the continuation of cultural industry. The arts are nothing if not adaptable.

On the 8th of May, the day of the election announcement, Marcus Romer, Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre, put out a rallying call on Twitter to fellow arts leaders. The message was simple: ‘make a piece of work that starts the fight back’. Since then, the hashtag #artsfightback has been established, and over 300 practitioners have stepped forward to support Romer’s pledge.

Social media serves as a free and accessible way to effectively link the widespread creative community, enabling those people with a shared objective to start up conversations and offer support no matter the distance.

Similarly, online platforms like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder provide an alternative method to garner funding, and play well with social media. They enable the creator to promote a creative initiative to the general public and gain donations, often in exchange for a small piece of the pie to the generous donor. A quick glance at the Crowdfunder arts section reveals projects ranging from a new ceramics studio, sending a show to Edinburgh Fringe, and putting on a Japanese art exhibition. Since it’s launch in 2009, Kickstarter has reportedly received more than $1.5 billion in pledges from 7.8 million backers to fund 200,000 creative projects.

Gaining support from individual donors frees the creative organisation from the red tape that typically comes with being funded by a governmental body. But what message does this send to the government? Certainly, that the general public are largely in support of the arts. Potentially, that there is even more of an excuse to lessen the amount of public money allocated to the arts.

The good news: many UK and Globally active corporations are philanthropically backing the arts and cultural sectors. In a recent press release by the National Portrait Gallery, Andrea Sullivan, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, EMEA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said: ‘we believe that maintaining a vibrant arts sector is crucial to ensuring strong communities and economies.’ This statement was presented regarding a long-standing partnership of support that the Bank of America has provided to the NPG and other such organizations. In the coming years, larger organizations will play a big role in ensuring the availability of the arts to all.

As mentioned by Andrea Sullivan, and called upon by Marcus Romer, community is at the heart of the arts. The perfect example would be Ealing Borough Council who created the Ealing Summer Festivals as a way to celebrate the borough’s strong music and comedy history. The festival draws huge crowds to Ealing’s parks in celebration of local and international acts across a range of artistic disciplines. Such an event will also surely bring outsiders into the borough, providing an influx of revenue to local businesses. It is in this way that the arts are also shown to be a vital and economically viable resource.

London Calling has been working with businesses in the arts, cultural and leisure sectors for over 30 years, through various changes in government. We pride ourselves on providing high quality products, which enable companies large and small to thrive in whatever economy they are faced with. The future of the arts & cultural industries may be pending at present, but one things for sure, we’re not going anywhere.

by Marina Nenadic, Sales and New Business Manager

A Day in the Life at London Calling

Tom Butler Partnerships Manager and Editor

The other evening, my considerably better half asked me what I’d been up to at work that day. At the time, I was conjuring up a banquet in the kitchen that Mr Roux Sr and his lad would be proud of. Glad of the excuse to break away from creating my beef wellington masterpiece, the conversation went as follows…

Me: I was working on the distribution for a new musical coming to the West End first thing. After that it was on to a digital and social media campaign for a music festival in town. Then it was on to an ambient campaign for an exhibition opening at a gallery before looking at direct marketing options for a charity campaign.

Better Half: Pretty busy day then?

Me: That was just in the morning! In the afternoon I arranged several interviews for the website, organised an exclusive event for our readers next week and agreed a deal to host music videos on the homepage.

Better Half: Wow, how did you fit all that in, you’re amazing!

Now I should probably come clean and admit that my girlfriend did not say I was amazing she merely looked utterly indifferent and put The Real Housewives of Somewhere Nice on. Also please note that for an accurate portrayal of the evening’s meal please substitute beef wellington for chicken and noodles!

However, the sheer variety and diversity of campaigns that I’d worked on that day is spot on, and it’s one of the main reasons why I enjoy my job so much. The idea of a typical day at work simply doesn’t exist at LC! Many times I’ve made a ‘to do list’ at the start of the day, only for that to be thrown out the window five minutes later.

That ability to be flexible, working on creative solutions that we can implement that afternoon if required, is something we’re rightly proud of here and as the ticket buying public become ever more savvy to last minute special offers we need to be ever more adaptable to our client’s needs.

The launch of LondonCalling.com back in July 2011, of which I am the Editor, certainly added another string to our bow and now a good proportion of my week is taken up with securing great features, competitions and content for our site and social media channels. It’s also yet another example of how varied and interesting a day here can be.

Last week I received pitches from some of my freelancers covering topics such as So Solid Crew, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, the upcoming Noel Fielding exhibition, comedians at Soho Theatre, singers at Ronnie Scotts a display of artwork by a noted Azerbaijanian artist and a vast array of events taking place if you weren’t keen on spending fortunes on Valentine’s Day (check out the site if you want to see which ones made the cut!).

So if you’re one of our wonderful clients who was wondering what a typical day in the office is like, there isn’t one! Perhaps not the ideal answer for a Day In The Life Of piece, but an accurate one nonetheless!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my ‘to do list’ still hasn’t been touched today and I’ve got to get home to whip up another culinary storm later on. For culinary storm please read omelette/stir fry/anything I can find in the fridge!